Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wednesday Wonder - A Miracle for Mike

Hudson, would you like to pray for Mike?
"Mom, sometimes things are too sad for me to pray for out loud.
This is one of those times."

Our friends Jeff and Nan Lawrence and their family are suffering a tragedy this week.
Their nearly six-year-old son, Mike, tripped and pummeled out of a vacation condo window, falling three stories onto a concrete staircase. Jeff and Nan and Mike's two brothers saw him fall, and everyone looked down to see him lying on the concrete below, unmoving and not breathing.
That's about all we knew Sunday morning as I asked Hudson if he wanted to pray. E-mails and phone calls and texts frenetically traced Mike's constantly changing diagnosis through Sunday's afternoon and evening hours.

I spoke with Nan on the phone Sunday morning shortly after they'd gotten Mike to the emergency room. Listening to her scattered, rambling description of Mike's fall and thinking of the ER physicians working to save his broken and bleeding body seemed incomprehensible. The few times I'd spent with little Mike and his twin brother Luke flashed through my mind: Nan lugging both infant carriers, one in each arm, into my den, and laughing as the baby boys watched the whilrwind of superhero-clad Branson and Hudson prancing over and around their little carriers. A couple of years later, Mike and Luke's highchairs side by side in a Fort Worth restaurant, the boys literally covered each other with bright blue jello. And again I watched Nan cradle one boy in each arm like footballs, carrying them to the restaurant's bathroom and then emerge with clean but faint blue smurfs.

I met Nan through my friend Jude my freshman year at Baylor. Nan was a sophomore - really smart, really beautiful, and really original. She didn't take much time or energy to worry about impressing people. One of my first impressions of Nan was seeing her on a street corner as Jude and I drove to church one Sunday morning. In shorts and a t-shirt with her long blond hair tied back in a loose ponytail, Nan laughed and talked with a handful of young African American boys. Rather than spend her Sunday mornings in a church pew, Nan got to know the neighborhood kids by showing up each week on a street corner with an enormous box of doughnuts.
It wasn't long after that Sunday morning that Nan called me out of the blue.
"TJ, I've been thinking about University High School."
"Uh huh?"
"Yeah, and how there's no Young Life, no Campus Crusade, no ministries on the campus at all."
"Uh huh?"
"So I've been thinking about University High, and all these inner-city kids, and I keep thinking about you."
"Uh huh?"
So the next day I found myself sitting in Nan's car in University High's empty parking lot, praying with her for teachers and coaches and instrumental leaders the Lord might use to bring these kids into a relationship with Him.
And the next three and a half years I found myself volunteering as the cheerleading coach for the freshman, JV and Varsity girls.
A little Nan goes a long way.

Nan has influenced many, many lives, and along the way has endured her own share of crazy trials. I'm talking, crazy. I won't expound here, but she's an open book if you can catch her for coffee. Her years of walking with the Lord have been deep and difficult and rich and startling and glorious and pain-filled all mixed together. But through the marvelous seasons and through the miserable ones, the Lord is producing in Nan a strong and stable and steadfast heart that longs for Him. I have seen that when her flesh and her heart fail, the Lord provides her strength and hope.

Back to Mike.
The happy update is that God is choosing to spare this precious little guy. After scans and x-rays and surgery (and who knows what else), Mike remains in the ICU in a San Diego hospital with broken bones and some serious internal injuries but a clear MRI. I'm overwhelmed with God's grace for Nan & her family, for Mike's life. Evidently so are the doctors. Mike has a long road to recovery, but at this point his physicians anticipate a full recovery.

The real Wonder here is not Nan or even Mike, but the Lord who named himself Jehovah Sabaoth - our Protector - and Jehovah Rapha - the God who heals. That a six-year-old boy can fall three stories head-first onto concrete, and via God's protection and healing can that very day ask a nurse to move away from in front of the tv because "I can't see through you" - now that's a miracle.

Jeff and Nan (pictured next to me, second-to-right) live in NC, where Jeff pastors a church and Nan explores their forested back yard with her three boys. They had just arrived in San Diego Saturday night for a family vacation and anticipated celebrating their twins' 6th birthdays on La Jolla beach and at Legoland.

Thank you, Lord, for Mike, that his life will be celebrated as never before on his 6th birthday tomorrow. We will never understand the implications of your provision. Thank you for Nan, for creating her into the capable and perfect mommy to these three active and tender-hearted boys and as the perfect compliment for Jeff. For the friend she is to so many, and for her heart that overflows with you. We trust you!